Neser in mix for shock Boxing Day debut
The MCG's recent run of lifeless pitches has Australia toying with the idea of handing Michael Neser a Test debut as a fifth bowler on Boxing Day.
The Aussies traditionally play only four bowlers however a pitch inspection on Thursday morning will decide whether Neser or Peter Siddle joins certain inclusion James Pattinson in captain Tim Paine's XI.
MCG curator Matthew Page has personally told coach Justin Langer the Test strip "will be a really good wicket".
But after back-to-back flat decks the Aussies remain unconvinced.
No. 6 batsman Travis Head appears the player most likely to make way should they plump for an extra paceman.
"The only reason we'd do it (play five bowlers) is if the wicket looks anything like it has the last few years here at the Boxing Day Test match," Langer said today.
"You have to get 20 wickets. On the really, really flat wickets (that's hard). It would be no surprise to anyone that the Australian cricket team doesn't usually go down that path of having the extra bowler.
"But if we were to play on wickets like the past two years or so here at the MCG, we've certainly got to find a way of taking 20 wickets.
"We're hopeful that's not the case, but if we were to turn up on Boxing Day and it looked really flat we've got the flexibility to be able to do it.
"In most circumstances that's why we don't do it (play an extra bowler), because you don't need to do it."
Australia took just 10 wickets against England in a boring Ashes draw in 2017 and was then smashed by India last summer. England captain Alastair Cook broke his runs drought with 244 not-out in 2017.
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Local boy Pattinson will replace Josh Hazlewood (hamstring) although Langer was unsure whether he would take the new ball.
Meanwhile, opener David Warner is certain to play on Boxing Day despite only facing throwdowns in the MCG nets on Tuesday.
The explosive opener was struck on the left thumb at training on Monday but coach Justin Langer said he was only concerned for "about two seconds".
"He's fine. We've got a big picture of Albert Jacka in our change room. Davey will be fine," Langer said.
"It's not unusual for Davey to do that (not face a bowler in the nets).
"He's in really good nick, he's a very experienced player. He knows how to prepare. I've got absolutely no worries he'll be ready to go."